It turns out that there are many, many more hate crimes per year than reported, a recent investigation from Associated Press revealed.
A criminal offense is categorized as a hate crime if it is committed against a person or property motivated by a bias against race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity, or gender.
Between 5,000 and 7,000 hate crimes occur in a year, according to what the FBI currently catalogs. Almost half of these crimes are based on race.
Seventeen percent of city and county law enforcement agencies have not submitted any hate crime reports to the FBI in the past six years. The majority of these are small towns, but the list included larger cities with negligent departments in Birmingham, Alabama; Jackson, Mississippi; and Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
If all local departments filed hate crimes, according to AP, the tally would be upwards of about 250,000 annually. That estimate is disturbingly fifty times higher than what the FBI has cataloged.
Moreover, this number would be even greater if all victims of hate crimes reported them to police. The staggering results indicate a vicious cycle of fear and distrust.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics, in 2012 only an estimated 40 percent of targeted hate victims came forward and contacted police after they were attacked.
S. Gulbarg Singh Basi, chairman of the American Sikh Council, told the AP, “‘Keep your eyes closed and the problem will go away.’ I’m not saying that is right, but quite a few people think that.”
It’s not altogether surprising that victims are reluctant to reach out to authorities, but it is certainly disheartening when considering that the majority of victims — 60 percent — do not.
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